The Mormon church, which counts presidential contender Mitt Romney as a member, has been making plenty of headlines of late. Now the Salt Lake City-based church has plans to build a church in Flushing, Queens.
With a unanimous vote, the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals yesterday approved the construction of a Mormon church more than one and a half times the size of what’s permitted under current zoning regulations, the New York Daily News reported. The new structure will sit atop 145-13 33rd Avenue, a plot that the Mormon Church, formally known as the Church of Latter-day Saints, owns.
The 21,443-square-foot church will be two stories and will have a spire that rises 92 feet. Originally, church officials aimed to make the structure a total of 23,000 square feet.
The plan is not without its critics. Local residents say the structure will stick out in the neighborhood, which is mostly residential, and that the square footage total was scaled back to an arbitrary number. The plan was rejected unanimously earlier this year by Queens Community Board 7 and Queens Borough President Helen Marshall had also opposed the plan. But church officials said that their worshipping needs necessitate a large building.
Ultimately, Jeff Mulligan, the Board of Standards and Appeals’ executive director, said that religious properties are “afforded deference” in land use and zoning.
“The board believes that the applicant has successfully demonstrated a programmatic need for additional floor area and has met all of the required findings for a zoning variance,” Mulligan wrote the Daily News in an email.
The Mormons have a temple in Lincoln Square, located at 125 Columbus Avenue, that totals 40,110 square feet, according to PropertyShark numbers. In addition, the Mormons have three other properties in Manhattan, four in Brooklyn and five in Queens, including a location at 144-27 Sanford Avenue in Flushing. — Zachary Kussin [NYDN]